Crew members detained, aircraft searched by authorities at London Heathrow Airport

British authorities on Monday “thoroughly searched” and detained the crew of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight after it landed at Heathrow Airport, PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar said.

Flight 785 from Islamabad to London arrived at Heathrow Airport at 2:50pm on Monday. Upon landing, as passengers disembarked, the flight crew and aircraft were searched by the authorities, the spokesperson said.

Fourteen crew members were released after being detained for nearly two hours by the British authorities, Tajwar added.

“We have not been informed as to why was the crew detained,” said Tajwar.

According to the spokesperson, the flight will return to Lahore at 11:30am on Tuesday.

Read more: PIA orders inquiry into reports of ‘rowdy’ staff at Paris hotel

Earlier, GeoNews reported that the crew members were detained over “alleged security threats” and “interrogated” by the authorities.

The national carrier often comes under fire for poor performance, low safety standards and unprofessional attitude of staff.

In January, as many as seven passengers were forced to stand throughout the over three-hour flight from Karachi to Madina after the airline boarded excess passengers in a serious breach of air safety regulations.

More recently, PIA came under fire when it emerged that a senior pilot operating the Islamabad to London flight handed over the aircraft to an under-training pilot soon after the take-off and took a two-and-a-half-hour nap in the passenger compartment, compromising air safety and putting the lives of over 305 passengers at risk.

Members of PIA crew have also been sacked for smuggling banned items and money laundering.

The airline has taken a firm stance against corrupt practices and recently announced “termination from service” will now be the only punishment if any staffer of PIA is involved in smuggling.

Source: Dawn

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